Hanoi (VNA) – So often a ‘muse’ for other photographers, Meritorious Artist and actress Chieu Xuan now chooses to stand behind the camera to bring poetic elements to her own work.

Photography has been her new hobby for about a year now. Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, she is taking a break to stay home and spend some quality time with her two grandsons, Nhat Minh and Nhat Kien.

Reporter: I can see all your works are in the ‘street’ style, why did you choose this style?

Meritorious Artist Chieu Xuan: For me, street-style photography is a continuation of stories from movies. While movies are staged, street-style photography describes life and various aspects of it in a way that happens so naturally and randomly that cinema is always seeking to recreate.

Daily life is always full of colours, which is what art is all about. Life is everywhere, but the important thing is whether we can see it or not and whether we are lucky enough to capture the golden moments.

Actress Chieu Xuan: Photography takes me back to my younger years hinh anh 1A few of the photos taken by actress Chieu Xuan about daily life in Hanoi. Many of her works have been listed by photographers’ groups as the most impressive work of the week or month. (Photo courtesy of Chieu Xuan)

Life is an endless subject, close to me, as a performer, so I like it a lot. Human faces, emotional nuances, and movement in spaces are things I love very much. I particularly enjoy camera angles that capture the essence of a person with such immediacy that it can touch the viewer’s heart and soul.

Reporter: Where have you travelled during your year of pursuing photography? What impression has each of these places made on you?

Meritorious Artist Chieu Xuan: I took photos in Hanoi. Down in the south, I went to Da Nang and Hoi An. While up in the north, I travelled to Y Ty and Bat Xat in Lao Cai, Mu Cang Chai in Yen Bai, and Dong Van Karst Plateau in Ha Giang. Each place gave me a different feeling.

Hanoi is where I was born and grown up, it is the place where I feel I can see things through. I always miss Hanoi, even when I am in the middle of it. Many people say I am “very Hanoian.” All combined this gives me the feeling that Hanoi is mine.

Actress Chieu Xuan: Photography takes me back to my younger years hinh anh 2A few photos taken by actress Chieu Xuan depicting the lives of ethnic minority people. (Photo courtesy of Chieu Xuan)

I was afraid that if I didn’t take and snap photos on urban landscape, those old buildings that are becoming more and more fragile and may soon disappear, a link between the past and the present would be lost.

The northern mountainous region, meanwhile, gives me a very strange feeling of closeness. Right on my first visit there, its wild, untouched and beautiful scenery brought me back to my younger self, to my childhood, untroubled and carefree with children’s games like “danh khang” (tipcat) and “danh dao” (coin toss).

Reporter: You got married at the age of 20. Six months after giving birth to your first daughter, your father and parents-in-law fell ill. Your husband, composer Do Hong Quan, had to work day and night to earn a living while you had to take care of both families. Is pursuing photography something you’re doing to make up for ‘lost time’?

Meritorious Artist Chieu Xuan: You could say that. Photography has always been what I wanted to do so I make time for it. Now, as I have more time than before, I travel to take photos so I can live my life to the fullest, to take myself back to my younger years and to lose myself in the love for life./.